Fiona Cassidy

Fiona Cassidy
Author, Mother, Thirty Something...

Friday, 31 December 2010

Starting the way you mean to go on....

Hello folks,

I apologise for being a bold child and not updating my blog! But in my defence....Christmas has been mad...we're all sick at the moment and as every other part of my body is aching with the flu it's a wonder that typing isn't stinging just a bit more! I've also been doing a bit of writing (cue loud applause from my agent Emma Walsh who will be delighted that her last kick-up-the-arse phone conversation actually prompted some action in that department as I have been rather pre-occupied of late what with pregnancy, the whirlwind that is family life, sickness and just about every other distraction that you can think of!)

But as we near 2011 my resolutions are very simple...I shall start as I mean to go on and blog at least once a week if not more! I shall try and write at least 1,000 words a day and my attitude in life shall be supremely positive because as we all know you get back what you give out and if you're going to be miserable and filled with angst then that is precisely what you will recieve in return! I will love and honour my family to the best of my ability and will try to keep my unruly hormones in check (cue further 'quiet' applause from Philip who is currently hiding behind the sofa in case I chew the head of him for breathing too hard.) Pregnancy is definitely hard for the women but equally as stressful for the men and as I'm blessed to have a very supportive and nice model who does his best to keep me happy (despite the fact that our lives have both been very stressful this year) then I'm going to make sure I look after him well and appreciate him to the full (whilst only turning psycho occasionally for the remainder of my pregnancy?!)

I have lots of cute stories, photos and anecdotes to relay about the Christmas period which I will impart over the next week but for now I will simply say thank you to all my readers, followers, publishing team, agent and Philip (the best unofficial manager in the world) for making 2010 a year to remember.........


Thursday, 16 December 2010

Happy Birthday to my Una xxxx

What can I say about this special wee woman who turned 14 today and is literally my saviour a lot of the time...well for a start she's beautiful, she lights up a room when she's in it, she's fun to be around and she's most definitely her mammy's girl and always has been! From ever she was small she's been my shadow and I have to say I couldn't ask for a better companion...she comes everywhere with me and has been my main partner in crime lately when I've been attending functions and events as well as book signings as you can see above!

Una's arrival fourteen years ago was one of the best things that could have happened me! Una came into the world at quite a turbulent time in my life when I was at a low ebb but it was never allowed to get too low as I knew that I was carrying a precious wee bundle that would see me through the darkest days...little did I know quite how precious!

Una constantly has a smile on her face even though life has presented her with some pretty tough challenges and I'm so proud of her for dealing with them in the way she does...she was sent to me as an angel from the very beginning and continues to play that role to this day...she knows my moods and my state of mind better than I do and is the source of great comfort and solace when life gets hard! If I could bottle and sell her I would...but I won't as she's unique, special and all mine and something so precious is not for sharing (whatever man gets her better be prepared for the wrath of her mother if he ever dares hurt be warned boys!)

Happy birthday my darling and many of them!

Lots of love

Mammy xxxxx

Thursday, 9 December 2010

The novelty has definitely worn off...

I don't know about the rest of you but, I, for one, am totally and utterly scundered with the weather (were I living in Derry and talking Claire Allan's lingo...the word would be scunnered) but nevertheless they both mean the same thing which in this instance is....snow and ice feck off!!

The children haven't been to school all week (so my head is turned with requests and laments in equal measure.) I have hardly had my nose out the door as I do not have Jane Torvill's talents when it comes to ice skating and am afraid of doing a double pike somersault purely by accident and probably breaking both my legs into the bargain and to round it all off I have a wash basket that is permanently full due to the fact that my children find it highly amusing to continuously slide down the same dirty great hill every day and come in mucked to the eyeballs! I made a long speech yesterday about the laundry maid being on strike and refused point blank to wash any more sodden and snowy clothes and as usual they listened....NOT...grrrrr! Oh yes...and lest I forget to mention it I now need a new mop as everytime they enter the front door all the snow that was outside miraculously appears in my hall where it is then subsequently tramped through the house...I'm really enjoying the weather...can't you tell...and we're walkin' in a winter hell hole...sorry I meant wonderland...honestly!

If there is a weather fairy...could you please do us all a favour and rid us of this ice and snow and preferably before I have to get my mother (who still thinks she lives at the top of the swiss alps) air lifted out to the main road and stationed beside a sand depot somewhere!

If you ever hear me complaining about being too hot in the future slap me please...hard... and remind me of how I feel right now freezing cold, suffering from cabin fever and desperate to see civilisation again and not have every conversation starting with the's -14 today and there's an ice warning...AAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

My poor wee baby is sick....

It has to be said that there is nothing worse than a young child being sick. It's a scary experience for everyone involved especially when it happens during the night and there is literally vomit everywhere! Sorry for the graphic detail but we had a horrendous night with was like something out of The she managed to splatter her blind and curtains I will never know but she'd definitely win a prize for her aptitude in making her insides travel the furthest outside....yuck! Our Aine loves the bath...that said... being forcibly given one at 3 o'clock in the morning in order to wash 'stuff' out of her hair went down like a bag of badgers and I'd say the wee deaf man who lives at the top of our street had his fingers on the buttons to give Esther Rantzen a call due to the shrieks that were emanating from our house accompanied by wails of "my tummy is not happy"...and it wasn't the only one believe me!!

So we slept in the living room last night...mostly due to my fear of Aine pebbledashing any more bed clothes. Thankfully she slept but I didn't as every whimper, murmur and snort had me racing to her side with a basin! On the bright side, however, I managed to get two more loads of washing done, write a further two chapters of my book and have an indepth chat with my Australian sister-in-law at an ungodly hour where she told me I was likely to 'crash and burn' today with my antics...getting a bit wobbly now...but when all is said and done my wee woman is feeling a bit better and currently sitting watching her fiftieth episode of Tom and Jerry today...and that's what being a Mammy is all about...taking the rough with the smooth and the vomit with the smiles and laughter!

And here I am ready to do it all over again...what do I say...BRING IT ON BABY

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Annoying Emails

I'm sure we've all been there but I'm finding this particularly difficult to deal with at the moment therefore feel the need to RANT...

Picture're waiting for an important email therefore every ping, beep and click signalling a message arriving is greeted with much enthusiasm...that is...until you discover that instead of it being from someone important it is pure and utter SHITE (and that is the technical term!)

When I'm waiting for updates and news I do not need to be bothered by supermarket special offers, computer packages, advances in ipod technology,the latest fashion that the slebs are wearing or indeed what Peppa fecking Pig is up to of an afternoon....grrrrrrrr

I know that it is entirely my fault for signing up to these things in the first place but feel that these companies are doing the public a diservice by not reminding them when they fill in their details that receiving emails when one is pre-occupied, busy or indeed if it happens to be the wrong time of the month or there's a full moon may just drive them to the nearest lunatic asylum to be sectioned for beating the crap out of their computer, partner, cat or whatever else is handy at the precise time of the message arrival!!

Deep breath....breathe...breathe...and at ease.

Friday, 19 November 2010

There's no Place like Home at Christmas

When most parents think about stocking fillers for their children they usually think about little novelty items that will add extra excitement to the special day! Can I ask a huge favour...when thinking about this for Christmas this year spare a thought for those less fortunate...think of families who have extremely sick children who rely on the help and support of outside agencies who can offer respite and care to their loved ones...think about the work of The Jack and Jill Foundation who support the families of children with neurological difficulties and the valuable contribution they make to parents in this situation!

Believe it or not there is a way that you can make your child (and yourself) smile this Christmas whilst helping this organisation and that is by buying the gorgeously presented 'There's no Place like Home at Christmas' which is a delightful compilation of children's stories written by some of Ireland's best known and loved authors and personalities....and me!! Majorly successful authors such as Maeve Binchy, Patricia Scanlan, Cathy Kelly, Eddie Hobbs from RTE and footballing legend Niall Quinn have all contributed stories to the book along with a host of other authors, journalists and sporting greats! The book is beautiful and printed on parchment type paper with an eye-catching cover making it look like an old-fashioned Christmas collection and with stories of elves, reindeer, blue-bottomed bears your child will be delighted and you will be charmed!

My contribution features two very special called Aine and the other Una (can't think where I got the inspiration for those particular names) and is called Aine's Star! I'm very proud of it and feel more than priviledged to be named amongst other authors who have been my idols since I first learned to read!

Do yourselves a favour please and pick up a copy of the book and know that your support will be gratefully appreciated by everyone involved not least the children who so desperately need help from The Jack and Jill Foundation who are experiencing funding problems at the moment.

To learn more about this very worthwhile service click HERE.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

National Adoption Week

Well folks,

It's the start of November and wet and miserable it is too but not only's also a week celebrating a cause that is very close to my heart! It's National Adoption Week and as such a week where adoptees like myself come out and speak about what it's like to be adopted, encourage others to think about adopting and in my case talk about what a wonderful experience it has been! Perhaps not everyone will have been as lucky as me but I'm blessed and I know it and I'll openly say it as my Mammy and Daddy deserve the praise...they earned it one hundred times over when I was a horrible question asking teenager who was desperate to find out who she was!

Unfortunately I can't say that my search for my birth parents has been easy or indeed has had a happy or satisfactory outcome as I still have many questions which have been left unanswered and a longing to be accepted but the one thing that has always been apparent is that I was adopted for a reason , I agree with that reason and know that I got the best parents possible. Things could have been very different for me....and for that I'm truly thankful!

As we know there are many people out there who unfortunately for one reason or another can't have their own children but as the adopted child of a wonderful couple who were in a similar position and waited thirteen years for me I would encourage childless couples to please consider giving a child in need a home! You and you alone could change that child's life and what a wonderfully selfless and amazing achievement that would be!! People who want children have so much love to give so why not give it to a child, who, for whatever reason, can't or don't have it from their birth parents!

If you'd like more information about this matter please don't hesitate to contact The British Association for Adoption and Fostering who I've recently become an 'Adoption Champion' for and who will be only too happy to give you information, guidance and advice.


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Why The 4 of Us continue to delight The 2 of Us and are still our No. 1

Sharon and I pictured with Brendan and Declan Murphy from The 4 of Us and Sharon's father...legendary showband man Brian Coll!

Continuing from my previous blog where I was praising Sharon Owens and her tremendous efforts in catering for my musical tastes at her book launch I feel that I need to give a greater explanation as to why Newry band The 4 of Us have always delighted me!

Picture's the late 80's and like all teenagers I've started to develop my own musical tastes. In order to help me do this I have Ray Darcy and his RTE Sunday morning music video show The Beat Box to help me...this is where I discovered The Hothouse Flowers, An Emotional Fish, Something Happens, The Horslips, The Cranberries and the totally amazing The 4 of Us whose music I instantly connected with and loved! I spent any money I had buying their singles and albums and was known to do my own rendition of 'Drag my Bad Name Down' into a hairbrush in front of the mirror before going out for the night! Basically, The 4 of Us were to me what Taio Cruz and Lady Gaga are to the music loving youth of today! I saw them play live in the Glenavon House Hotel in Cookstown the Christmas before I turned 17 and was the happiest girl in the room (at the very front of the room practically eatin' the stage, I might add) when Brendan Murphy, his brother Declan and their band had us dancing into the wee small hours!

My love for this group has never died and their CD's have remained in my collection so it was with great delight that I discovered that another author namely Sharon Owens liked them as well when she did a blog about them one fine day! I duly responded with great gusto and we partook (I don't think that's a word but I'll just make it up as I go along) in a session of very appreciative posts filled with memories and favourite songs!

Picture yet another is early May and I recieve a beautifully thick enveloped invitation to a book launch...but not just any book hosted by one of my favourite authors! I scan the invitation and note the time, date and venue and then I run my eye over the part that says The 4 of Us will be providing the music and fall to the floor in a dead faint requiring resusitation by a team of cardiac experts (well not exactly...but very nearly mind!)

I cannot begin to tell you how excited I was and have been about this. It's not every day that you get to meet your idols in person and take a trip down memory lane with songs that shaped a very important part of your life being sang live in a dimly lit room where you could have heard a pin drop! The 4 of us came on stage last night and entertained the assembled crowd with old favourites such as 'Mary' and 'She Hits Me' along with some new material all sung in the same hauntingly beautiful and ultimately catchy accoustic style that attracted me in the first place! They also performed their own rendition of Carrickfergus which was simply incredible and told us that Sony have added 'Mary' on to their playlist for Singstar which speaks volumes in itself!!

My night was complete when I got to meet Brendan and Declan in person (thinking I was 14 and vowing never to wash again when Brendan gave me a hug), reminiscing as I did and reveling in the fact that they were friendly down to earth musicians who were happy to pose for photographs and meet us! I hope that this will be the first of many meetings (not in a stalkerish type way just in case the poor boys think I'll be perching in bushes with my binoculars at the ready...although now that I think of it.....)

Many people have been known to thank Abba for the music but I'll do it my way and thank The 4 of Us for the music, the memories and for giving me a night I will never forget!!

Check THEM out for yourselves...

A Winter's Wedding...

Well folks,

I had an extremely glamorous and magical evening yesterday! I am fortunate enough to be able to say that uber talented author Sharon Owens is a good friend of mine and therefore was in the lucky position of being one of a select crowd of family and friends who were invited to share in the launch of her latest book A Winter's Wedding, which will be another success for the former Omagh girl who is published in no less than fifteen countries including America, Canada, Australia, parts of Europe and Russia as well as the UK and Ireland (me jealous....who said that???)

Sharon has never had an official book launch before but she certainly pulled out all the stops to ensure that her guests had a truly amazing night at the Four Winds Inn in Belfast where there was free champagne, celebrities on tap (stand up Lynda Bryans and Pamela Ballentine), a sumptuous meal, chocolate gifts for everyone as well as signed copies of her newest book on every table complimented by copies of her previous releases! As well as getting A Winter's Wedding I also went home with the American version of The Teahouse in Mulberry Street which was Sharon's first novel (and one which I quote again and again as being one of my all time favourites when asked.) This book is the first installment of the Belfast trilogy which also boasts the titles, The Ballroom on Magnolia Street and The Tavern on Maple Street! If you haven't read them...please do yourselves a favour...they are charming, funny and very cleverly written stories that describe Belfast and its streets in vivid detail with eccentric, roguish and hard to forget characters taking centre stage!

As well as filling my ever expanding belly and giving me plenty of reading material Sharon also ensured that my musical tastes were well catered for! We were entertained by Newry band The 4 of Us who literally were part of the music culture that was firmly interwoven in my being when I was a teenager so to say that I was happy is a big understatement!

Thank you Sharon for a wonderful evening! I am proud to be flying the Northern literary flag with you and even more priviledged to call you my friend!

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Let me tell ye a wee story....

I had a fantastic day yesterday when I was asked to take my Creative Writing class from The Peace Factory to The Argory (lovely stately home just outside the Moy) where they could showcase their work, get a free cuppa and a tour of the old house and have a bit of craic with Declan Forde who is one of Ireland's legendary storytellers (and bloody good he is at it too....put me to complete shame if truth be told!) I took my daughter Una with me and I think the humongous hot chocolate she got in the tearooms complete with enough marshmallows to choke a donkey and a flake was reason enough to be happy that she accompanied me!

I had never met Declan before but have to say that it was a real treat! He is an absolute natural at what he does and entertained us all with a variety of hilariously quirky monologues, poems, songs and verses all accompanied by guitar (multitalented he is)! He told me before we began that I could be the comedian as that is precisely how I write but I think that that crown definitely belongs to him and his stories of Wise Men from Carmen, Maureen O'Hara, sessions, folklore, ghosts and tales of yesteryear which were accompanied by much foot stomping (by him) and laughter (by the rest of us!)

I did a reading from my book and we listened to short stories and poetry and all in all it was a most enjoyable afternoon...the perfect way to spend the day before Halloween...surrounded by corn dolls, slices of apple tart and cream, stories and craic!

I am anticipating that the Storytelling classes Declan facilitates wil be busting at the sides as I think most of us present wished we had half his talent, confidence and joviality and hope that others will be encouraged to sign up for creative writing classes in the future! I have been like a wee proud mammy over the last few weeks as I have watched my proteges bloom and look forward to meeting with them again in January!

Friday, 22 October 2010

And I'm Feeling Good...

Well folks,

I had a very interesting day today! I got a little glimpse of what it must be like to be Cheryl Cole or perhaps I should be comparing myself more to Dannii Minogue with her being post bump and me being pre bump! I got a phone call on Wednesday asking me if I'd be willing to go to the UTV studios in Belfast to be part of a selection panel for the 'Feel Good Factor' and with me being a strong advocate for 'feeling good' and positive thinking and the like I readily agreed in gleeful anticipation of how nice it would be to get back into the studios and become all starstruck (which I was when I recognised Jamie Delargey and Paul Clarke in the newsroom woohoo!) Not to mention the great craic I had drinking tea and eating chocolate muffins with Malachi Cush (presenter) and Sinead Doyle (producer) of the Seven Thirty Show doncha know! Of course as I was going to be in Belfast and in close proximity to 'the shops' and as I'm also all for 'retail therapy' (entirely for the purposes of achieving 'the feel good factor') that was another bonus!

On a more serious note (whilst remembering the image of one of the male judges pulling his trousers up around his ears in an effort to look like Simon Cowell) my role involved shortlisting finalists for UTV's 'Feel Good Factor' which invites nominations from the public for people who have made a difference to the lives of others! The winner of the Northern Ireland heat will go on to the glitzy star studded Pride of Britain awards in London where they wil be showcased along with others with similar attributes from around the UK! I assume that my invitation to this will be in the post (might be a good idea not to hold the breath as it would be bad for the baby but hey I can dream!)

I take my hat of to the people of the north and their willingness to help others from all ages, creeds, abilities and walks of life! What I saw today made me humble and proud to be Northern Irish! We may be a small province only boasting six counties but we sure know how to pull at the heartstrings with our selflessness and thought for others!

You can watch the four finalists and their stories on UTV Live all next week from Monday to Thursday and see the winner being announced on Friday!

"It's a new dawn, it's a new day, it's a new life for me and I'm feeeeeeeeeeeeling goooooooood."

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Weather Watchers...

I always complain that I hate wintertime but have to say that it does have some advantages! We had a lovely evening yesterday where we lit the fire for the first time this year, I dug out my warmest, fluffiest slipper sox and fleecy pyjamas and got a cup of Ovaltine brought to me in bed (this doesn't usually happen I hasten to add I think he was just feeling sorry for me because I haven't been sleeping well lately and also because he fancied getting a night's sleep himself 'without you feckin tossing and turning all's like bein' in bed with a hyperactive spinnin' top...grumble grumble yap yap.')

On the downside, however, is my mother's obsession with the weather!!!! She phones me to tell me what temperature it is and how cold it is set to be for the next five days (I honestly have no requirement for a five day weather report...I have it on's like living with Frank Mitchell who probably doesn't talk as much about it!!) and she worries about snow and how she and my daddy will ever get out of the house (apparently they live at the very top of the Swiss Alps where the roads are totally impassable and they would need air lifted out...or maybe they just live on top of a hill on a road which in fairness is fairly treacherous in the ice?!) I think I'm going to have to break her radio, distract her every time the news ends and hide all newspapers from her during the following months or else put her to good use and get her a job in the MET office where the news will be undoubtedly bleak and the weather permanently crap until next May when she can start worrying about the children wearing hats and being appropriately slathered in sun cream!

You just can't must be a mammy thing...although be assured I have already instructed my children to lose my radio, stick their foot through the TV on the dot of 6 o'clock and hide all reading materials if I show any signs of developing 'weather-watching-panicitis' as it seems to be incurable and has the side effect of putting everyone around you in a bad mood (or maybe that's just me!)

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

I've been teaching Creative Writing to children as an after school activity since the end of September and they have provided me with much mirth and entertainment with their innocent comments and enquiries!

Firstly, I have to rant as I couldn't believe how many of them had never heard of Enid Blyton (I'm talking blank expressions and much shrugging of shoulders here...shocking!!!) Then I produced a Beatrix Potter book and wasn't that surprised to hear only a murmur of recognition (well let's face it if you've never heard of The Famous Five or been taken for a spin on the 'Magic Wishing Chair' then my hopes weren't that high!)

On a brighter note, however, Roald Dahl remains a firm childhood favourite (yay!) and we had great chats about The BFG, James and the Giant Peach and Fantastic Mr Fox which I enjoyed immensely!

What cracked me up entirely and literally left me having to duck behind the desk before I threatened to wet myself was a comment made by a little boy who I couldn't look at for the rest of the day (as I don't generally bring changes of underwear to class with me.)

I was holding up Beatrix Potter's Collection of stories when he enquired with great gusto...."Was Beatrix Potter Harry Potter's Granny?" in an expectant voice and left me utterly speechless before very quickly looking in my bag to hide the fact that I was in kinks!

I'll still be telling this story in years to come...only then somebody will probably be asking me if the latest new age children's writer is Harry Potter's grandson and I'll still have no answers...

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Stepping into the Shoes of Others...

We all have days where we believe we have it tough and life is incredibly unfair! We rage over the actions of others who seem to be hell bent on causing stress and destruction wherever they go and whinge constantly that we've been dealt a cruel blow! I've been feeling like that quite a lot lately as I've had various large traumas to deal with (whilst being pregnant and prone to sniffing, which doesn't help, believe me) but got a wake-up call today when I read the story of a remarkable woman who you would think had the life of Reilly and not a care in the world...until you read what she has been through and, it has to be said, nearly die of shock whilst trying to stem the tears in equal measure!

I have been lucky enough to be interviewed by the lovely Lynsey Dolan on Dublin's Countrymix radio station twice now and meeting her in person is a real treat (especially when she tells you that she read three quarters of your latest book in one go and loved it!!) She is a vivacious character with a husky voice and a penchant for hilarious facebook posts but today for the first time I learnt how she has been struck by tragedy throughout her life and feel truly humbled. This brave lady, after experiencing quite a turbulent childhood, has lost two sons, Greg to a cot death some years ago and two years ago, her son Chris was killed in a car accident in Australia. I cannot begin to contemplate the pain and anguish that any parent must experience when they lose a child in tragic circumstances and take my hat off to this wonderful woman with her lust for life and cheerful disposition in the face of what must be a terrible cross to bear.

You are an inspiration to us all Lynsey and as I am a strong believer in angels I have no doubt that your sons are at your side spurring you on and feeling incredibly proud of their amazing mother!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Not Just Anyone....

There was an article published in todays Irish Independent Mothers and Babies magazine supplement featuring moi talking about adoption, my family and being pregnant again! Bernice Mulligan (brilliant journalist and very lovely compassionate and empathetic lady) interviewed me several weeks ago and we had a great chat (when she eventually got hold of me as I have a head like a sieve these days which is a condition commonly known as pregnancy brain or perhaps thats just my other half's analysis of my compulsion for disorganisation at the moment!)

Literally five days previous to this interview I had been rejected by my birth family or rather my partner was invited to a meeting where the message was to be passed on that they were not willing to meet with me and 'I would never be recognised'. As you can imagine I was distraught and have been experiencing some pretty intense emotions since! However with the help of my poor long suffering Philip, my wonderful adoptive parents and extended family, my children and my close friends who have all rallied around me I'm beginning to see light at the end of the tunnel. I still have dark days where I can barely lift my head where the slightest thing can trigger a whirlwind of emotions but even in my lonliest hour I realise I have a lot to be thankful for that perhaps others in simialr positions aren't lucky enough to have!

The last few days have been particularly rocky as the stress of the situation has began to affect my physical health however I'm determined not to be beaten by the actions of others who to my mind are still thinking of me as a baby wrapped in a blanket who caused a myriad of problems in rural Northern Ireland in the mid 70's where having a baby out of wedlock was akin to committing murder! Nobody has committed murder thankfully, although the thought did cross my mind when I heard myself described as being 'nothing more than a genetic link' (I jest...although the genes must be strong as I resemble quite a lot of the 'birth' cousins I've traced on's wonderful being able to find your family on a social networking site just not so great when you can look but never ever contact! Well I could, but I won't as I have to respect the decisions of others and not allow myself to become bitter and resentful (I've seem first hand what these emotions can do to people and how they can corrode their very soul and am not willing to let that happen to me!) Instead I intend to use my experience for the greater good in the hope that, in time, I'll be able help others and promote adoption as one of the most worthwhile things that can be done! I couldn't have picked better parents if I had tried and Lord knows there are a lot of children in the world who need love!

Anyway...there is a point to my musings this evening! I picked up a copy of the Irish Independent today and didn't get further than the title when tears sprang to my eyes! 'Not Just Anyone'...that suggests that maybe I am special to someone or that perhaps I have done something worthwhile which in my current state of semi worthlessness I appreciated greatly!

Thank you so much Bernice for making my day...and thanks to my family and friends who have made it their mission over the past few weeks to put me back together again when I've fallen apart...Is there 'Anyone for Me?'...Why, I do believe there is and they've been here all along!!

Monday, 4 October 2010

The X Y and Z Factors

It's that time of year again folks! X Factor mania has hit our screens and I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am that the annoying audition stages are now over and the live shows are about to start although I have to say that I'm a tad dubious about some of the decisions made!

Firstly, is Dannii Minogue mad? Paije is a wee Luther Vandross in the making if you ask me and should have been put through (obviously I am very experienced in this field due to my constant ipod listening and being kept up to date on who sings what by my children when we've the radio on in the car therefore my views should be taken very seriously!!) I cannot for the life of me understand why she put in the Oitalian diva as he quite obviously has trouble written all over him (he'll be demanding his own dressing room and wanting scented candles and his own stash of M&M's before too long you mark my words!) I am, however, in favour of her other two choices...Matt Cardle is simply delightful and his vocals remind me of Daniel Bedingfield (see, told you I knew what I was talking about!) and Aiden Grimshaw is just lovely (wonder if he's a far out relation of Eileen and Jason's or has any relations in Weatherfield?!)

Poor oul' Louis definitely had the toughest choices to make due to the sheer lack of talent in his category! Firstly, let's talk about the 'house husband'....never before has a title left me in such a state of confusion and it wasn't because I doubted his domestic capabilities more the reference to a 'husband' which suggested that there was a 'wife'??!! Then there was Mr Vanderwhat's his face who looked like his hair had been the victim of electric shock treatment and he spent all his free time fighting for space in the tanning salon with Jordan. I was so glad he didn't get through as the mere look of him would have irritated by happiness! How Wagner ever got through in the first place was beyond me as he looked like something that had just stepped out of a Mexican western and didn't sound much better either! On the other hand you should have heard me when 'our Mary' got her place! For me, this lady represents thousands of us out there who haven't had the courage to grab what we want in life until something finally gives us a push! She is an absolute inspiration and I hope she does well and that Tesco will have to start recruiting again! Storm (and his newly dyed red hair?) will go down like a bag of badgers with Simon which is precisely why I think it was a good idea...sparks will fly! I also liked John but was gutted that Elisha Moses didn't get a chance (if only for the fact that she was semi-normal which seemed to be a bonus in that group!)

Simon definitely made the right decisions as far as I was concerned although I have to say that I was quite partial to Husstle and did wish they had got through! Although Twem were likeable characters I think it would have been a mistake to let them through...think French Jedward.....shudder! Bellame were absolutely fabulous and deserve the most credit due to the fact that they weren't a group before simply four individual singers...fair play to you girls! Both boy bands were also to my liking (its very important to keep me happy y'know) so Simon Cowell has my approval (God love him he'll probably sleep better now in that knowledge!)

Now we come to Cheryl!! I need to take several deep breaths and have a good scratch at the old head before I even contemplate what drugs she was on before she made her decisions! Katie?????????? Only Blogger might take issue with the use of obscene language there is a lot more I would like to say but for now ten question marks and me wondering who thought it was a good idea to nick a peacock's feathers to stick around her eyes and hand her a parasol when she was auditioning will have to suffice!! Rebecca has an amazing voice (Sade better watch out...there is no end to my musical knowledge) but I would prefer if she would stop snotterin' at every turn round as it is rather off putting! Cher is a lovely girl and very talented who offers something different however I'm a bit annoyed that she was put through over and above others who were fit to my wee Gamu for example who has had me 'walking on sunshine' since I first heard her and who to her credit also had Louis delicately dabbing his eyes with a hankie at bootcamp! I also loved Treyc and her rendition of Ave Maria and thought Keri also deserved a shot! Poor Anastasia got rejected again but to be honest although I liked her there was nothing that stood out for me! Can I also just ask as an extra question...why did Will. i. am think it would be a good idea to wear his scuba diving goggles to the it possible that they hold some special powers of decision making? No, that can't be it because if they did Katie wouldn't have gone through...miaaaaoooowww.

As the credits rolled last night we heard that there will be a twist and it no longer seems to be a secret that this will take the form of four wildcard contestants being allowed to be picked on the first live show with one being voted through by the public!

Right...I hope yis are all paying attention now...Dannii...please give Paije a shot! Simon...give Husstle a chance or perhaps let Diva Fever through, Louis...please put Elisha Moses through and Cheryl...(wags finger and speaks sternly) preferably dump that blonde bimbo or failing that pick my wee Gamu to entertain us or Treyc or Keri!

Never mind Nicole Sherzinger (who I liked by the way) they should get me in to sort it all out! Sure, Louis and I have already proved we look the part together ;)

Friday, 1 October 2010

And it Was Perfect....

Well folks,

Where were you all last night when you should have been in the great city of Derry celebrating with the one and only Claire Allan who had her first ever book launch on the publication of her fourth book! Our Claire has never been one for putting herself in the limelight so I, for one, was delighted to see her shining in all her glory last night in front of an amazing crowd in her staggeringly high but very gorgeous turquoise heels!

There were books aplenty, there was wine and Shloer (for me and my babby), there were very delicious tomato sandwiches (have developed a fetish for tomatoes in my pregnant state so was very grateful for their inclusion on the menu) and there was homemade chocolate cake (made by the very talented Jack Hagan) and homemade carrot cake made by Claire's Auntie Lorraine and before you two start threatening spatula's at dawn again (like, seriously you should see Claire's facebook page...there's fighting talk and discussions about having a bake-off now) they were both absolutely beautiful and I had two small pieces of each (one for me and one for the babby of course...eating for two and all that!)

Claire made a speech, Claire's son Joseph made a speech (it's the stage for that boy I think) and Claire's Mammy made a speech or rather read aloud the very first thing that was published by Claire (aged 8 I might add) which we all found very funny whilst Claire sat looking mildly shocked and just a wee bit red faced!

After the launch myself and my good friend Carrie Ann (who is originally a Derry wan who was very proud to be in attendance) made our way to the very gorgeous Karma on Derry's Strand Road where we indulged in cocktails (one measly Cosmopolitan for me followed by five glasses of water), tapas food and a lot of craic mostly provided by Claire's aunties who are an entertaining lot!

We left at around 12:15am after Carrie Ann had a pink fit because the bar closed and she wanted another cocktail (she's well named that one...feckin Carrie Bradshaw wouldn't have a look in...ahem) and then went home guided by the stupid sat nav that took me the most convoluted lonliest route home where there were literally no houses, no lights and I would have peeed myself had we been unfortunate enough to have had a flat wheel! Thankfully we didn't and we all got home safely...still basking in the glory of two girls who've had a brilliant night!!

It's Got to Be Perfect is out now and you must buy it...that is an not mess with a pregnant woman giving you an instruction!! I mean it (just ask my other half!!)

Thursday, 30 September 2010

It Will Be Perfect....

Dear Claire,

As a fellow Northern girl, a good friend, a grateful confidante and sharer of many laughs over the past few years I am thrilled to be going along to support you this evening as you host your first ever book launch!!

We have been through a lot together since we met all those years ago on the Write-On Irish Girls writing forum and I was so delighted to find another norn compatriot along with Emma H and the lovely Jacqui who was to join us later!

I have watched you blossom from the very early days where you took the amazing success of your first novel completely in your stride whilst trying to help other authors who may have been struggling (like me maybe...ahem!) You have always been generous with your advice and encouragement which is probably why when I got 'theeeeee email' from Poolbeg you knew I'd been offered a three book deal before any of my friends and why you nearly got your ear blew off and could probably hear me squealing in Derry without the aid of a phone receiever!! Your subsequent novels have also been resounding successes and your band of loyal followers continues to grow which you have your witty personality, generosity towards others as well as your books to thank!!

Then there has been all the craic and laughs on our library tour...with much talk of children, husbands with glazed over eyes, Simon Cowell and hairy men from Donegal! I have enjoyed these nights immensely not least because I actually get to see you in person as opposed to chatting to you at work where you answer your phone with such gusto...."Hello Reporters!!!"

Having had an exclusive preview of 'It's Got to be Perfect'...I'm predicting that it will be just that....perfect!!

I think what I might be trying to say is that I am very very proud of my you my dear and cannot wait to see you revel in the glory you are so deserving off this evening surrounded by your family, friends and admirers!

Don't sweat...It Will Be Perfect!!

All my love and best wishes!

Fiona/Fionnuala/Fionnooddles xxxxxxxx

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Happy Belated Birthday Aine

My little girl turned four last Monday and along with gaining another year she seems to have acquired the ability to buy and sell everyone around her and her vocabulary has expanded overnight....with her favourite words being 'take me to the shop/park/town'...'I want to wear a dress'....'I'm not wearing that top'...'Look, it's a horsey'...'I want a dog'....and 'Is my party ready yet?' which I have been listening to on a 400 decibel loop since last Monday (note to self: in future be sensible and do not tell child that she is having a party five days before it is due to happen therefore avoiding constant questions and endless hankering which results in mother requiring sedation in order to cope.)

On Monday morning she was kissed to within an inch of her life and entertained with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday by her parents who were remembering what they were doing on the 20th September delerious with happiness (and pethedine) nursing my stitches in the midwifery led unit in Craigavon hospital and looking at my baby in wonderment. Philip nursing his stitches (God love him he had an operation on his spine the day before I gave birth so the gas and air ran empty rather quickly that night) whilst thinking how brilliant I was (first time he had witnessed a natural birth y'see therefore has viewed me in a new light ever since) whilst trying to clean the house and waiting for the community nurse to call out and pack his wound...perhaps we're better not dwelling on that aspect of things too much...ahem!

The last four years with our precious daughter have been truly amazing and I have relished, delighted and savoured every moment and look forward to many more happy years ahead hoping that God spares us all! As for her Daddy...well I may as well fade into insignificance when he's around as she truly adores him and the feeling is more than mutual believe me! Her siblings feel the same and I would dread to be the one who ever hurts her in the future as her team of protective bodyguards will be on standby ready to pounce!

Happy Birthday Baby! Love you loads xxxxxxx

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Sickie Bad...No Weel

No I'm not speaking Swahilly folks...the title is simply my attempt at Scotch Irish (or copying Philip's father who hails from Larne where they're all great Russ Abbot impersonators)....I digress...basically Philip and I are sick! We've got the dreaded 'bug' and it ain't pretty! Who, may I ask please came up with the idea of calling a nasty dose of vomiting and diarrhoea 'a bug'? A 'bug' conjours up the image of something cute, like a ladybird, instead of a dreaded stomach churning exercise in seeing who can bond with the toilet bowl the most and fastest, I might add (to date I have been the winner with the help of my slippers which practically take on an energy all of their own and help me to slide gracefully into the loo before chucking up with rather less elegance!?)

Even though the thought of spending three days in bed with my beloved sounds like a real treat I'd rather not be doing it as we simultaneously moan about how crap the other one is feeling. To be fair Philip has been much worse than me, however, as I am pregnant and have already had to put up with four and a half months of engaging in this ritual I think its grossly unfair and feel like I should get the most sympathy. On the other hand, though, Philip hasn't been broke in like I have and as he's a man (and we all know how rubbish they are at coping with sickness) maybe he just has the edge!

Wish us a speedy recovery friends and congratulate my daughter Una aka Florence Nightingale on doing a superb job of holding us all together and seeing to our every whim! She's wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember but is now making noises about changing direction....for the life of me...I can't think why?!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Camille's Appeal

If you're having a bad day, stressing about things that maybe seem important but on the grand scale of things really don't matter as much as you think they do or are prone to whinging, huffing or generally thinking you have it rough...don't! Spare a thought for these wonderfully brave people and their gorgeous little daughter Camille!

Camille's Appeal

I'm back!!!!!!

Back from where I hear you ask...I'll tell you where....back from the black abyss that is being without an internet connection for two feckin weeks that's where...grrrr!

I must tell you that I did attempt to blog on my Blackberry at one stage and did actually manage quite well (apart from the letter 'c' which insisted on sticking). It wasn't the longest post I've ever written but it was time consuming none the less so I was glad to check the spelling and click the 'Publish Post' icon except that that would be too easy (for me that is...cos everything's complicated for me...ahem!) I have to give some credit and say that it published something...the title....and nothing feckin else. Only the phone is quite valuable and was my only source of recieving emails I have a feeling that I would have been using it for target practice I was so cross...let's just say that if I'd had a swear box handy it would have been overflowing and the charity of my choice would have been very grateful for getting their new minibus!

Since losing my connection (along with my mind) I've discovered how dependent we've all become on t'internet. Even my children were suffering as several pieces of homework couldn't be done at home (which they were totally devestated about naturally...along with the fact that MSN had disappeared which was nothing less than a tragedy.) Please explain to me why teenagers feel the need to phone each other to tell the other person to go on MSN when they could stay on the phone and have a chat using normal everyday language which doesn't require the use of endless smiley faces and spelling everything wrong?! Yhuuu git mi meanin... ;) ;) ;)

Anyway I'm back now and Sky have been forgiven for their tardiness (just about)! The postman nearly got snogged on the doorstep this morning when I realised what was in 'the package' and the other half was summoned home regardless of whether or not he was teaching this afternoon....get pregnant hormonally imbalanced wife (who may or may not kill you if disobeyed) connected to the internet again or prepare for class...he was home less than 20 minutes after he got the call...Ha...I have the power!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Where does brown sauce come from?

I love easy questions....where do apples come from? How is milk made? How do we get water?.....not a problem! Where do we get brown sauce from.....hmmmm!

Aine: What's that?
Mammy: That's brown sauce pet.
Aine: But where does it come from?
Mammy: comes from a factory where people put it in a bottle?
Aine: What's a factory? (jumps up and down whilst asking question.)
Mammy: A place where people put brown sauce into bottles (sighs wearily.)
Aine: Why?
Mammy: Because that's what they do?
Aine: Why? (wearing an impish grin safe in the knowledge that Mammy has one nerve left.)
Mammy: Go and ask Daddy.
Aine: Daddy doesn't know. He says you know everything!

Mammy shall be reminding Daddy that he said this every day for the rest of his life and demanding that it be written down!! As for the question asker...she's still no further forward in her quest to find out about the origins of brown sauce but it's okay...she now wants to know why Daddys have hair on their chest and when she can expect hers...sometimes there are just no answers to be had?!

Monday, 6 September 2010

And there's one for everybody in the audience...

Anyone who recieves RTE and is familiar with The Late Late Show will understand my delight at the return of my Friday night fix of Ryan Tubridy and guests along with his competitions, free giveaways with the punchline...'there's one for everybody in the audience' and musical interludes (although the last one was Jedward...long pause for effect....what were you thinking?!)

Now, if Ryan Tubridy happens to be reading this (I am nothing if not most optimistic about my followers) I have to say that I'm a big fan and have been all my life since the day of Gay Byrne!! My point being that if there happened to be an opening for an author to talk about her books or her very interesting life what with having a mad family and being a poor adopted child with famous relations (people would kill to hear the stories I have to tell y'know...seriously!) then obviously I'd be delighted to sit in the big leather chair! Besides my best friend Carrie-Ann (who is also another Late Late fanatic) would simply be beside herself with delight as naturally I'd have to bring her along....go know you want to...even if only for her sake...she doesn't get out much God love her!

I shall be waiting most patiently for an invitation or failing that maybe I'll just continue to bask in the glow of making it on to the Seven Thirty Show on UTV with the lovely Malachi Cush and Tina Campbell or perhaps I'll just stick to dreaming...sigh

Retro Sweets

I could blame my pregnancy. I could blame my sweet tooth or I could blame the fact that when I was growing up we were lucky enough to have an old fashioned sweet shop in the village where I went to grammar school but when I stumbled upon this website for Retro sweets my taste buds went into orbit! Refreshers, chocolate mint lollipops, fizzy strawberry belts and Wham bars. Sweet Peanuts, Rhubarb and Custards, Strawberry Sherbets, Brandy Balls that would have burnt the beak of ye and Apple Tarts that were all weighed by the quarter and put in a white paper bag! Opal Fruits (yes Opal fruits folks...none of this Starburst craic) and Marathon bars(Snickers what??)

To share in my cravings or if you happen to be in a nostalgic mood have a look for yourselves HERE in sweetie heaven nom yom yom...

Do we have to go yet Mammy?

Usually the most commonly used words in a child's vocabulary are...."Are we there yet?" which is normally accompanied by a low whinge and a sigh that sounds like a brattle of thunder! Therefore I have to admit to being somewhat unused to being asked in the same whiney tone..."Do we have to leave yet?" especially when the phrase is with reference to school (the result of too many years listening to grumpy teenagers talking about their education with much hostility and moodiness!)

My little girl started playschool today and has been like a jumping bean of anticipation since she got her uniform last week! She was absolutely bursting with enthusiasm from first light and I would have needed a talking clock on stand by as quoting the time every two minutes is seriously not my idea of fun!!

I gave her a bath, forced her to eat her porridge (she loves porridge...Goldilocks wouldn't have a look in!) in her dressing gown for fear of the cleanliness of her uniform being short lived and then finally popped the yellow t-shirt and blue fleece over her head...dressing her has never been easier!!

She posed for photos (as you can see) and was as proud as punch going out to the car with her new schoolbag on her back before stopping to show Granny and Granda the transformation from mere three year old to grinning school goer!

As expected she took the whole process in her stride and was most concerned that I was going to stay with her for the entire session instead of simply dropping her off and leaving her (parents were allowed to stay today but I only stayed for around 20 mins or rather until Aine kicked me out!) I watched with pride as she drew pictures, played with water, pursed her lips and made a brrrrrum brrrrrum sound with a digger in the sand and even offered comfort to another little girl who was missing her mammy (clearly Aine is the expert in not missing her Mammy...ahem!)

I came back to collect her and was greeted with a horrified expression and the words "I'm not going home yet?" I think she might just be looking forward to going back tomorrow! As for the rest of them...they're moaning already...perhaps I should take them to playschool again and see if the infectious delight it seems to bring out in the young works on their grumpy siblings...leave me alone...I can dream!

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Oh to be a Child Again...

Is there anyone else in the world who at certian times wishes they could rewind the clock and go back to their childhood where they were safe, secure and a grown up was on hand to look after and worry about 'all the grown up stuff' and read endless stories from the Enid Blyton Bedtime Collection (or maybe that was just me?!)

There are, of course, advantages to being an adult and having your own independence and life but occasionally I would love to crawl back to the safety of the crook of my Mammy and Daddy's arms where I would feel truly content and worry about nothing.

When you're a child, a young teenager, in particular, you yearn for the day that you'll be able to open your own front door with your own front door key and eat as much junk food as you want at whatever time of the day you desire (I was easily pleased and my aspirations were quite reserved as you can wild parties for me...well maybe a few?!)

When you're an adult, however, and the pressures of the world and the actions of other people become too much to bear it's nice to regress and think about a time when life was simple and carefree...I'm very lucky that I have that haven to visit in my head...others mightn't be as lucky!

Wish me a happy trip....I'm off to hear my daddy's dulcet tones telling me the story of 'Dame Lucky's Umbrella' and to remember how lovely it used to be to curl up after Mass on a Sunday and watch The Waltons!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

I want my doh doh.....

If I was partial to a 'doh doh' I would probably be wanting it at this moment in time as I'm tired and want to go to bed soon but as I am an adult and not giving birth to Tom Cruise's child (we all remember dummy-gate in the labour ward do we not?) thankfully I don't need one!

My dummy obsessed daughter, however, is another matter entirely or at least she was as I'm happy to report that as of two days ago we are now a dummy free zone! I am officially in shock and can't quite believe that after nearly four years of doing the best Maggie Simpson impression in the country that she has actually relented!!

For months now we've been coming up with convoluted plans involving 'putting the dummy in the bin' ceremonies followed by 'going to get treats because you're such a big girl now' bribes but in reality we held the answer all along....accidentally and unintentionally leave the dummy in the creche on her last day there when she knows she's not going back and when you realise what you've done slap your head and wonder why you didn't think of it all along?!

Of course we went through 'a bad period' (I'm censoring the words that were actually used in case any of you are easily offended) that evening where our little girl constantly demanded her dummy, was told for the zillionth time (through gritted teeth) that it was gone and then gurned (pronounced guuuurrrrned by all self respecting Belfast people), refused to look at anyone and shock horror wouldn't even give her beloved daddy a night night kiss because he was obviously in the very very very bad books!

However, she must have undergone a transformation that night (or subliminal hypotherapy?) as it hasn't been mentioned since and will be staying that way...NO MORE least not for around six months anyway until the new baby comes and the process starts all over again...bring it on!!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Happy Birthday Philip....

Today is Philip's 42nd birthday although he doesn't behave like he's a day over 21...ahem! I want the world to know what a wonderful man I have and what I wish for him for the next the way, with regards to the photograph I think it's important that you know he's on his knees (where he belongs) as all 6 foot of him tends to make me look like a shruken elf! Good things come in small packages doncha know (and the first smartarse to say 'poison' is getting thumped!!)

Firstly I wish him love and risk of making you all boke I have to be honest and say that he is the love of my life and my soulmate and I want to see that gorgeous big broad grin of his throughout the year to come!

My children Colm and Una got him a card yesterday which was worded very said that 'the world would be a better place if there were more Dad's like him!' (Just so as you understand...Philip isn't Colm and Una's biological father but he might as well be...there's a saying in the world that's very true...any man can be a father but it takes a very special man to be a Daddy!)

Whilst we're on the subject of birthdays, I just can't resist digressing, our daughter Aine got her first birthday present yesterday from her Godfather Finbarr (who she referred to as 'God' for his entire visit! He left our house intending to go straight home and inform his children of his new he felt it was information they really needed to know!!) It's Aine's birthday on 20th September when she will turn 4 and hopefully leave the madness of being 3 behind her but I'm not convinced...more on that later?!

But getting back to Philip...within the next year I hope all his hopes and dreams come true...he's mad after a speed boat and calls my writing his 'speed boat fund'...God love his wee cotton socks...I could hardly afford to buy him a dinghy at the minute but I'm sure he'll continue to live in hope as will I, entirely for his sake of course as I'm not bothered (aye right!)

Happy Birthday my darling...and here's to the next year which please God will see you becoming a father again and hold lots of other treats with your mad family....I really really hope you get your speed boat xxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

School's In.....

I don't know about the rest of you but the day the school gates reopen I'm going to be there waving a 'I'm so happy I could squeal' flag and sending my children in with gusto. It seems like an eternity since the end of June when the prospect of being able to spend quality time with them was attractive and the fact that there would be no early rises to meet bus times seemed like heaven. Two months with them at home, however, (under my feet and lying in bed until the closing credits for 'This Morning' are well and truly over) although enjoyable, has been a long time (really wants to say loooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnng in a dramatic tone of voice but is afraid that said children may read blog and feign illness in order to stay under the feet for a while longer.)

We've had a good summer. We spent the best part of the month of July in Ballycastle (and no, we weren't there at the weekend when they were rioting in the wasn't us, I swear) where we toured around, shopped, spent time with family and friends and basically took the opportunity to relax and enjoy being carefree in each other's company. We've also had a good August where we've managed to entertain the children, there have been sleepovers aplenty and generally I've never been out of the car adorning my chauffeurs hat whilst trying to keep everyone amused!

Now, I KNOW I'm going to have a good September as I will be concentrating on getting my house back to normal as at the moment it resembles something that has been used for bomb disposal purposes. There will be no teenagers (with their signature smell of feet and general sweatiness) lying in bed until the early afternoon making the upstairs of my home look like a wake house from the outside and once they leave on the bus (sniff, I'm going to pine for them so much) I can go home and get back into my school routine of tidying the house, settling down with a mug of coffee and a pancake (I'm partial to the lemon and raisin variety) and perhaps getting some writing done!!

Aine (soon to be mad four year old) is also starting playschool this month and I think I may collapse with shock at the fact that for some two and a half hours a day my time will be my own and I can do exactly what I like!!!!

I love my children dearly but the old saying is definitely true...absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder! I will look forward to my weekends and the quality time we shall spend with each other then but during the week I shall live by the motto that I will appreciate them so much more in the evenings when they are not cluttering up the house and making the place look untidy during the day whilst asking endless questions the answers to which usually create more work for me!

The new term has begun....WOOOOOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOO!!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

When Blood is Thinner than Water

If you've read my biography or seen the blurb of my latest book Anyone for Me? then you'll know that I'm adopted and also that I'm blessed at having the parents I do. Things that others take for granted I don't. I know that life could've been very different for me had my angels not been looking after me and steering me in the right direction as a only have to read some of the horror stories about the children's institutions of the 70's to know that I've had it good!

So what exactly have my adoptive parents done for me that birth parents wouldn't do for their children?

Well...let's see...since I was a baby they have nurtured me and loved me. They have fed me and clothed me. They have given me values and principles and taught me the difference between right and wrong and how to treat others. They have instilled in me a love of reading and the importance of my faith but most of all they have paved the way for me becoming a mother and I can only hope that I can make my children feel as loved and valued as I have always done!

As for blood being thicker than water.....that's a can love someone as your own child even though you didn't give birth to them and sometimes if you're lucky (as my parents have been) that love is reciprocated one hundred fold!

Perhaps there are some poor unfortunates out there who have given unconditional love to a child who is not their own but in their care for whatever reason (foster parent, step-parent, adoptive parent)but haven't had the fact appreciated or you, I say, don't lose made a commitment, you accepted the challenge, you did your best and that's all you can do and something that not everyone would be willing or able to do so commend yourself for trying and never lose faith!

By the way my books are comedies...I'm just in philosophic form and in the mood for putting the world to should be glad I'm pregnant and therefore not indulging in a glass of wine as that's when my analysis of situations would become very detailed and repetitive....and repetitive...did I say that before?!

Friday, 27 August 2010


What is sensible about it I wonder? For those of you who don't live in my corner of the world Sense is the name of a teenage disco that my daughter Una (she who is pictured pursing the lips 'posh' style and looking everywhere but the camera) and her friends are attending tonight and to say that there would have been less fuss getting ready for a wedding would be an understatement!

False tan...when I was 13 I would have presumed you were talking about a pair of orange looking tights as opposed to the stuff that I was slathering on legs with a mitt that was too feckin big and kept sliding off!

Then there was the make-up...I am sure that Boots themselves would have needed fourteen members of staff to re-stock their shelves with what was spread all over my kitchen worktops and table in preparation for this night out not to mention the glitter that I will no doubt still be grinding into the floor and finding on my clothes until Christmas?!

Then there was the curl or not to spray or not to pass out with the fumes of sticky hair mist that were invading the air and in danger of making us all high...although Una and her friends were high enough for us all I think?!

As for Philip he took to our bed with the stress/strain/ and general disbelief of it all and was only heard from when we were leaving ranting from the top of the stairs about not letting boys within a ten mile radius or there'd be trouble, which was most helpful?!

I then adorned my Friday night chauffeurs hat and left the motley crew off at their desired destination.

I've decided to write about this now as I haven't picked them up yet and seriously don't want to turn into my mother with my disbelief at what 'young people' (oh dear...too late...I'm there already) are wearing or not wearing these days! Dropping them off was enough and I was already in danger of screwing down the window and enquiring if a few aspiring disco goers had got dressed in the dark or basically had come from homes where their mothers were blind???? In my day (oops there I go again) you would have been 'kilt' (sorry killed) for parading yourself in such a way!

It will be interesting to see what I'll be blogging about tomorrow! If I ignore the subject altogether you can presume one of two things I am either too traumatised to discuss it or have decided to relive my teenage years and embrace the fact that my daughter is simply going to be a woman of the world at a much younger age than me!!

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeek...have to go...trauma is settling in already.

Six year old gets book deal...

I was browsing through my homepage earlier when this headline grabbed my attention! A six year old has managed to secure what the rest of us have strived to do for years...his mum is an author and understandably delighted!!

Right Aine...get your thinking cap on girl!!!

Read this remarkable story HERE

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Making the most of life....

I have just been humbled to within an inch of my life after reading the blog of a young lady who is not only an MS sufferer but 11 weeks away from giving birth and coping with it in the best way she can whilst the rest of us would probably be given to ranting if we had half the chance!

Her name is Catherine and she is a friend and work colleague of my fellow 'Northern girl' Claire Allan...take a look at her blog and be thankful and learn by her example...we all have obstacles to face in life and we might as well deal with them with dignity in the hope that we're an inspiration or comfort to others! Catherine, I, for one, take my hat off to you and wish you all the very best with your baby and the other crucial decisions you'll have to make over the next few months!

You can read Catherine's blog HERE

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Bumps and Queues...

Well as you may have guessed already from my first post there is a little something on the horizon in the form of a new baby which will please God be making an appearance sometime at the start of March...on my daddy's birthday to be exact...although probably not because once the doctor gives you a date your baby must be straining to listen from within the womb, tugging on the cord and laughing manically whilst plotting to arrive either unexpectedly early or stress inducingly late!!!

I went to my 'booking in' appointment at my local hospital today and Philip came with moan, yap and generally give out about the length of the queue, how many men weren't there (whilst he was) and the fact that he couldn't smoke exactly where he was sitting! More than once I had to give him 'the look'. Ye know the one ladies, where you fix your man with a stare that would cauterise metal and hope that he gets the hint and shuts the feck up!

'Why did they tell you to be here at 2.00 when they've no intention of taking you?' himself grumbled as if he was the one battling morning sickness (a term that must have been developed by a man because its not true), the urge to go to the toilet every five seconds and a hunger for tomato soup which vanished the minute we left the hospital!!

'Because that's the time the clinic starts dear and I'm sure they're doing their best and not creating a delay just to specifically annoy you!' I sigh in frustration wishing I had left him at home or at work (wherever he was quietest!)

Eventually I am called and have the pleasure of being poked, prodded, pricked (steady on), weighed, measured and grilled about my family history which was difficult as I don't have any...poor adopted child you see! This was a rather unusual answer, however, and one that their computer was unwilling to accept...obviously they don't deal with too many orphans then?!

That whole exercise took the guts of an hour and by the time I got back to the waiting area, complete with puncture holes and pregnancy pack, himself, was doing a good impression of a Rotweiller sucking a stewed lemon!

Suddenly we are called into another room where we see the doctor and again we talk about my pregnancy history, including the fact that we lost a baby last year, and suddenly himself stops manically time watching and becomes the man I love as he grips my hand and reassures me that my scan will be perfect!

The doctor applies the jelly and all of a sudden out of the darkness of my insides being monitored I see my tiny baby doing a double pike somersault whilst using the wall of my uterus as a spring board....and at that point I know and Philip knows (even though he won't admit it) that if we had had to wait ten hours that it would have been worth it!

He still maintains that there's no way he's coming to the next one...we'll see?!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Northern Wit...

A fellow writer forwarded me an email this morning in which somebody had commented that the most humorous writers of the moment (myself included) were all hailing from north of the border and I was interested in exploring just why that might be!

Is it because we don't take life as seriously as everyone else and have learnt to laugh at ourselves (because thats what everybody else has been doing for years!)? Is it because we've been known to take life too seriously in the past and that the legacy of 'the troubles' have convinced us that life is simply too short not to have a good belly rupturing giggle now and again? Or does it come with the territory? If you have 'Norn Iron' roots and are brought up in these parts are you instantly in the queue to receive a large dose of wit, humour and general merriment (although now that I think about it maybe some of us got more than others...some people must definitely have got re-routed and ended up in the 'sarcastic, spiteful knobhead with a bad attitude you could trip over' queue?!

In my experience us Northerners have a language all of our own. We are easily identifiable in a crowd with our 'broad as your boot' accents and way of pronouncing things (just ask Claire Allan to do her rendition of 'Beautiful' in a Derry accent and you'll see what I mean right away...ahem!) We have our own brand of wit, which I am immensely proud of and perhaps because the six counties are such a small unit its part of our unique charm that we are able to make people laugh with our observations and quirky take on life!

I'm not speaking for anyone else, nor am I dismissing the great work that is being carried out by our southern counterparts, I'm simply offering a theory but it fills me with pride when I hear that the Northerners are making an impact and that in particular we're bringing a smile to the faces of others!

Laugh...its the healthiest exercise of all! Good for body, spirit and mind!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Saturday with the kids....

Sometimes it's the smallest most unplanned things in life that can be the most important and indeed the most enjoyable!

We decided yesterday morning (on a whim, as you do) to take ourselves away to the big smoke for the day where I would be able to go into Easons and visit Anyone for Me? (signed copies can now be purchased in both Belfast and Craigavon...shameless plug!) and the children would be able to visit their grandparents in Glengormley (which incidentally if you don't know is the takeout capital of the north...its the equivalent of the Curry Mile it has so many fast food outlets these days?!)

We went to Castlecourt first where Citybeat were running a talent competition and people were singing live in the centre (some were good...others tried very hard God love them.) Aine (mad three year old) got her face painted as a mad tiger, we got food (KFC for everyone else and a warm chicken salad from Pizza Hut for me) and Ciaran and Una both bought portable radios for £1 which they listened to in conjunction with the radio in the car the whole way to their granny's house and the whole way home! We were missing a few children yesterday for one reason or another so didn't have the entire crew with us which made a lovely change as there was no fighting or threatening behaviour which was like a breath of fresh air!

Granny was her usual self and morphed straight into 'hostess on speed' mode and spent the rest of her evening servicing every need and want you can think of from toilet attendant to cook to card dealer and eventually to bowling companion when we went to the Sportsbowl for an hour (whilst I clock watched as there was no way I was missing the first installment of X Factor!)

Sausages, beans and chips on a tray in fornt of the televison (whilst cringing and watching crazy people do mad versions of Duffy songs?! Seriously what the hell was that all about?!) and my happiness was complete (except for the fact that I'd have loved to have stayed and been tucked into bed!) Complete except for one thing of course and that was when the children told us that they'd had 'the best day ever' in the car on the way home...which is, as every Mammy knows, what its all about!!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Insomnia...why it is so tiring!

Hello friends,

It is eight minutes past seven on a Saturday morning and all my children (including the mad three year old) and my other half are asleep. I hear you asking the question...then please do tell us why you are up at this ungodly hour and not enjoying the peace in you bed?

I didn't actually sleep badly last night, if truth be told, which is quite a rare occurence for me as I have never been the world's best or heaviest sleeper. Drop a pin on the carpet in a room two miles away and I'm likely to sit bolt upright in bed looking startled and wondering who let the bomb off! I also detest snoring (and the grinding of teeth) cue everyone to look in Philip's direction and give him a foul look as he is guilty of both (sometimes at the same time which is no mean feat but not a party piece to be admired either...believe me!)

When I can't sleep I normally write (which is precisely why I'm talking to you now!) and most of my creativity with regards to my novels takes place when everyone else is 'out cold'. Although I do appreciate getting some work done I am so envious of those people who can sit on a sofa and 'nod off' (everyone look at Philip again please!) as nothing in the world would be less likely to happen to me! If any of my family were to come in and find me snoozing on the sofa I have a feeling that emergency services might recieve a frantic call and mirrors would be getting used to check for breathing!

Of course when the crazy toddler (did I say that out loud...) sorry I mean when my darling little daughter appears at the top of the stairs in approximately half an hour demanding breakfast and Fireman Sam and not necessarily in that order then I'll be tired and bed will seem like the most attractive place in the world but as with everything else on Murphy's list of warped laws by then it will be too late...the day will have started and the cycle will begin again!

'Philip stop snoring NOW....grrrrrr.'


Dungannon (my local town) has arrived....we finally have a Poundland which opened yesterday and is being given the seal of approval by Chastity Dingle herself who is coming all the way from Emmerdale to draw the masses tomorrow! I was in for the first time today and was mightily impressed at the bargains to be had!

Strangely though, there seems to be a certain breed of person who is a wee bit slow on the uptake or who signage evades and this type of person feels the need to go up to a cashier and ask 'how much is that?'

Ahem...well let me see now...the shop is called POUNDland, every poster in the shop advertises merchandise at a POUND and every child within squealing distance is in with their pocket money loudly proclaiming their delight at being able to get such treats for a POUND!

How much does it cost mate?....I couldn't possibly say?!

Stranger than Fiction

When I write characters for my books I like to use my imagination to create people who have funny little idiosyncracies and behave in the most peculiar manner, after all life would be very boring if we were all the same?! Problem is, though, that in actual fact some people that you encounter in life are more vindictive, disturbed and poisonous than anything a creative mind could produce.

I am one of those people who believe in treating everyone the same and I don't change my moods with the wind either. We've all encountered those individuals who will speak to you one day and then ignore you the next and I have to say that it is a very bizarre way of conducting yourself!

When I write I can control what the characters in my books do and say and I can also arrange for them to have a comeuppance when they go too far and need a sharp shock to bring them back to reality and 'put manners on them' as we say in the north! Unfortunately in real life its not possible to exercise such artistic licence which is an awful pity as some people would benefit from a few lessons in that department!

People do fascinate me and I do confess to being an avid people watcher but have to admit that although I'm not easily shocked certain persons in life continue to amaze me with their blatant disregard for others and I can only hope that someone out there holding a giant pen will sort them all out one day!

As for me I'll continue to do what my Mammy always said was a good idea and treat everyone else the way I'd like to be treated....with decency, respect and manners!!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Wasps...why we don't get on!

Hello friends,

I am becoming increasingly unnerved at the amount of black and yellow winged creatures we have buzzing around us at the moment. I know that wasps in general probably don't have a big fan base but I have to admit to being totally terrified of them! As with most things in life that scare us half to death there was an 'incident' involving me, 'it' and the entire canteen where I worked at the time! I must have carried the little fecker in on my shirt, it must then have navigated its way down my back where it stung me and I performed an impromptu strip for my workmates in an effort to get away from it.

There was a first aider...there was vinegar and...there was much fuss. However, it wasn't until I heard the words "Oh my God her lips are turning blue," that I started getting concerned. Anaphylactic shock...I had never actually heard of it before but now I was a victim. By the time I got to casualty I had a trout pout that Katie Price would have been proud of and my tongue had swollen as had my throat which was all very alarming. I spent several minutes being attended before I was taken by ambulance to another hospital where a drip was administered and I had to stay for two nights. When I got home if you'd shook me I would probably have rattled I had that much medication to take to counteract the venom that had been pumped into my system! I now have to carry an adrenelin injection with me which buys me time until I can get to hospital. I love it when I start a new job and have to declare that I possess one of these and that if I get stung someone may well have to plunge it into the muscle in my thigh...needless to say windows are kept closed at ALL times!

When I see a wasp these days you will therefore understand why I don't react in an altogether rational manner...ahem! My poor family have been forced on occasions to pretend they don't know me and that I'm just a screaming nutjob that's following them whilst doing an Indian wardance and shreiking 'get away from me' in petrified tones as if Freddie Kreugar himself is chasing me!

I do warn you though...the next person to say 'ach sure its only a wee thing and it's probably more scared of you than you are of it' is going to get thumped. Hard. Try to be understanding, try to be empathetic and unless you have a death wish DO NOT under any circumstances tell me to stay still...because if I don't kill you...the wasp just might!

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

About time the girl got a blog page....

Hi everyone,

Am a relative newbie at this lark but like everything else in life I'll give it a go once and if I like it I'll stay....and I do believe I like it! You can look forward to seeing my quirky observations on life (and there will be plenty...I have lots to say plus I am the mother of two teenagers and a toddler and part-time cleaning lady/housekeeper/chauffeur/carer/clothes buyer and confidante to my partners teenage children so an official woman of the world!) I also need some light relief in the darker hours (like when all the teenagers are in the house at once and the testosterone, oestrogen and general awkwardness may well overpower me....arrrrrrggghhhh.) I also write it any wonder I write books? I think you'll find not! I have lots to write about! I'm a mother, I'm an adopted child who has never found her birth mother and most of the time I'm so tired I think I must be mad but I'm someone who nevertheless enjoys life and loves to laugh! Oh yes I love to laugh as I employ the philosophy that laughing is much better than crying any day of the week and judging by the reviews I've been getting so far my readers agree with me!

My second book Anyone for Me? came out on 2nd August and this past few weeks have been rather crazy to say the least but I have a feeling that I'm going to have to reign myself in a little as important things are on the horizon (taps side of nose in a furtive manner) and all will become clear soon!

As this is my very first blog I would like to include in it some things that may be of interest to you...for instance my good friend and fellow author Claire Allan has just landed herself a Norwegian book deal for her second book Feels Like Maybe....the question on everyone's will she communicate with the Norwegians?...nah...we're wondering how exactly the lovely Nordic people are going to translate the word 'feck' because quite frankly the book wouldn't be the same without it!!

I was in Belfast last week (recording my very first vomit inducing TV appearance which turned out well in the end) and met the lovely Sharon Owens for the first time...that's her and I pictured above doncha know! She is a legend in my eyes (Oh God I'm turning into one of my children...everyone is a legend according to their figure of speech these days) but Sharon truly is one and I was delighted to meet her! Dream come true if you must know! I've spent many a happy day curled up with The Teahouse on Mulberry Street, The Ballroom on Magnolia Street and The Tavern on Maple Street - all wonderful books set in Belfast that everyone should take a look at!

Off to bed now where I am currently reading Ciara Geraghty's new book Becoming Scarlett! Just finished Roisin Meaney's Love in the Making last night and it was's lovely actually having time to read these days although I'm sure if my lovely agent Emma Walsh happens to read this she'll be asking where exactly I'm getting the time as I have a book to write in ooooooh around three months?! On second thoughts maybe I should bring the laptop to bed (where I will manage to hit Philip up the chin with it at least three times) and leave Ciara where she is for now!

Catch you all later I hope!

Fiona xx